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Indian Pied Starling - BirdForum Opus

(Redirected from Gracupica contra)

Alternative names: Pied Starling; Indian Pied Myna

Nominate subspecies showing subtle plumage hues of summer
Photo © by Alok Tewari
Gurgaon, Haryana, India, May-2017
Gracupica contra

Sturnus contra


22cm (8½ in). A medium-sized Starling.

  • Black and white plumage
  • Creamish yellow bill
  • Orange skin around eye
  • White ear coverts and underparts
  • Black throat and upper breast
  • White scapular line and inner wing coverts in largely black wings
  • Yellowish-brown legs

Sexes similar. Juveniles are browner than adults, their cheek patch is dirty white.


From extreme eastern Pakistan to north and central India, southern Nepal, Bangladesh, Myanmar.
Introduced around Bombay, in Japan and in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
Common in most of its range.


Some authorities place this species in genus Sturnus. This species formerly included Siamese Pied Starling and Javan Pied Starling; the combined species was known as Asian Pied Starling.

Photo © by Alok Tewari
Keoladeo National Park, Bharatpur, India, June-2017


Clements recognizes three subspecies[1].

  • G. c. contra:
  • G. c. sordida:
  • Northern Assam
  • G. c. superciliaris:
  • Manipur and Myanmar south to Tenasserim


Photo © by Alok Tewari
Communal roosting shared with Bank Myna
Basai Wetlands, Gurgaon, Haryana India, Jan. 2015

Cultivated areas such as ricefields, open lowlands, especially well-watered cultivated areas, reservoirs and parks and gardens. Mainly in the lowlands.


Forages on the ground, usually in pairs or small groups. In non-breeding season also in bigger flocks of up to 30 birds.


Omnivorous. Feeds on animal food, fruit, nectar, flowers and seeds.


Breeds from February to October in India. A monogamous species, sometimes breeding in loose colonies. The nest is a large domed structure made of twigs, grass stems, rootlets, palm leaves and artifical material (like plastic bags). It's placed 5 to 15m above the ground in a tall tree, an electricity pole or a lamppost. Lays 4 - 6 eggs, 3 in Java.


A resident species with some local movements in extreme northwest of range.


Call given by a small number of individuals feeding on Salvadora persica blossom and fruits, early morning.

Recording by Alok Tewari
Bharatpur Keoladeo National Park, India, Dec.-2014


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, T. A. Fredericks, J. A. Gerbracht, D. Lepage, S. M. Billerman, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2022. The eBird/Clements checklist of Birds of the World: v2022. Downloaded from https://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Gill, F, D Donsker, and P Rasmussen (Eds). 2023. IOC World Bird List (v 13.1)_red. Doi 10.14344/IOC.ML.13.1. http://www.worldbirdnames.org/
  3. Del Hoyo, J, A Elliott, and D Christie, eds. 2009. Handbook of the Birds of the World. Volume 14: Bush-shrikes to Old World Sparrows. Barcelona: Lynx Edicions. ISBN 978-8496553507
  4. Bindforum Member observations

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